By Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Camp Liberty
It has been more than 30 years since I have been dealing with conditions like the excerpts that I’ve cited below from the Iranian regime’s media outlets. I go to sleep each night and start every morning with these thoughts. Just take a look at a few news reports published in the Iranian regime’s newspapers:
– In the early hours of Thursday, September 18th, seventeen inmates in Kerman, Fars and Bandar Abbas were sent to the gallows. Five of them, including four in Shiraz and one in Marvdasht, were executed in public.
Moreover, 8 inmates were hanged in Kerman’s Shahab Prison in a mass execution.
4 other inmates were executed on Thursday morning in Bandar Abbas Prison.
– The ruling to amputate a man’s fingers in public was carried out this time in the town of Abar Kuh in Yazd Province. (23 August 2014)
This nightmare has yet to come to an end, and with Rouhani coming to power these executions have actually escalated; and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has referred to this subject in his annual report.
Hassan Rouhani’s promises of greater freedoms in Iran have not resulted in any major improvements regarding human rights and freedom of expression, the U.N. chief said in a new report on Iran.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s annual report to the General Assembly on human rights in Iran also expressed alarm at the reported recent increase in executions in Iran.
The report said: the promises made by Hassan Rouhani “have not yet led to significant improvements, and restrictions on freedom of expression continue to affect many areas of life.”
All this said, can one as a human being remain silent despite the values that he/she believes in, such as human rights, freedom and justice? Or as an Iranian Muslim believing in the Prophet Mohammad, Jesus Christ, Mary, Moses and all the other messengers of God that represent love, kindness, friendship and freedom for mankind… truly how could I have just done nothing?
No. Just like all the youths in my country I rose to fight against these criminals that have brought nothing but darkness to my homeland. In this struggle against the enemies of mankind, the mullahs ruling Iran, I have joined the democratic opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). Has it been easy? Of course not, and it was never meant to be. Many of my family members and best friends have sacrificed their lives in this struggle.
To continue my efforts I came to Iraq and Ashraf, located near the borders of my country, where thousands of Iranian patriots had gathered to fight for freedom in Iran and to continue this resistance. However, due to political mistakes made by the West after occupying Iraq, this country was gift-wrapped and presented in a silver plate to the mullahs’ regime in Tehran. Following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, based on the 4th Geneva Convention, my friends and I in Camp Ashraf were recognized as ‘protected person’ and the U.S. government assumed responsibility of providing our protection and security until our final disposition based on laws stipulated in the Geneva Conventions. However, this pledge was completely violated in 2009 and the U.S. government transferred our protection to the Iraqi government, triggering a series of catastrophes costing the lives of Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf.
During the past 8 years, Camp Ashraf has time and again come under attack by Maliki’s government and at the behest of the Iranian regime, and we were continuously massacred at the hands of Iraqi forces. 116 camp residents were murdered, including women, who had nothing but their bare hands to defend themselves. Even after the mandatory transfer from our 25-year long home in Ashraf to a deserted camp in Baghdad ironically named ‘Liberty’, the Iranian regime could not tolerate its dissidents outside of its own borders and we came under numerous missile attacks, again leaving many dead and injured. This is while we are considered asylum seekers ‘under international protection’ as stated in UNHCR statements.
I myself was injured in my right knee in one of these attacks dating back to 8 April 2011 after being directly shot by Iraqi security forces. I was wounded and maimed, and I currently cannot walk. Especially after being transferred to Liberty, it has been over two years now that day and night I am confined to a worn out metal trailer, freezing cold in the winter and excruciatingly hot in the summer. In Liberty there is no decent road or pathway, and all the streets are made of gravel and stones. To make things worse, the Iraqi forces stationed in an around the camp are not allowing us to asphalt all the roads even at our own expense! Furthermore, I cannot use wheelchairs and walking with crutches has become very difficult for me. To add to the list, my injuries have become so severe that even walking with crutches leads to bleeding and infection in my feet. During the course of the past two-and-a-half years, on numerous occasions I have suffered bleeding and infections in my leg, which is very damaging for my health and is can possibly lead to the amputation of my leg.
During our stay so far in Liberty, this camp has come under numerous missile and mortar attacks. In one of these missile barrages one rocket landed in a trailer, setting it ablaze. The video footage of this attack was posted on the Internet. This trailer was located where I am staying and I was only able to lie down on the floor, and since I couldn’t get up in this position I somehow managed to get myself to a bunker and miraculously survived imminent death.
However, my problems don’t end here. The mullahs and their mercenaries in Iraq are taking advantage of the status of injured and ill residents in Camp Liberty to break our will and force us to succumb to the demands of the mullahs’ ruling Iran. In line with these measures, they prevent the delivery of fuel to the camp, while we are purchasing this fuel at our own expense from outside of Iraq. Such limitations are imposed for the sole reason to harass and increase pressure on us. A mere percentage of the fuel we needed on a daily basis was allowed into the camp. Under the scorching 50+ degree Celsius heat we were not able to use our cooling devices, and as a result the infection in my leg became worse. Unfortunately, neither the UN nor the U.S. government took any serious action on the ground. Therefore, the status of my leg has now become critical.
These are the conditions of an individual who has devoted his entire life to end executions and human rights violations and bring freedom in his country. Shouldn’t we target the roots of terrorism and fundamentalism in our fight against it? This means the same mullahs that are the source of an ideology of crimes and viciousness, that are threatening world peace and security today under the pretext terrorist groups?